HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Mary Jo Martin's love for history led to a part in a Hatfields & McCoys documentary that will be aired on the History Channel, part of the cable channel's programming surrounding the "Hatfields & McCoys" miniseries.
Martin, a Guyandotte resident, is among about 80 local re-enactors to appear in a documentary recently filmed at the Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington.
"I did not even have a speaking part," Martin said. "I am in the background in a few scenes."
While she downplays her role, Martin clearly is excited about having a role in recording history.
The three-day miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys," starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton, will air at 9 p.m. May 28, 29 and 30 on the History Channel.
The two-hour documentary in which Martin played a small part will air 4 p.m. June 2, serving as a lead-in for a marathon repeat of the six-hour epic that same day. Costner serves as narrator for the documentary.
The historic story of the feud between two families begins with Devil Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy. They are close friends and comrades until near the end of the Civil War when they return to their neighboring homes.
Hatfield lives in West Virginia and McCoy just across the Tug River border in Kentucky. Hatfield wins a legal battle against McCoy's cousin in a dispute over timber rights. Tension continues to mount as accusations flair about the theft of a pig. Real disaster is ignited when a beautiful McCoy girl falls in love with a Hatfield boy.
As passions escalate, family members are killed, the feud makes international headlines, and governors of both states intervene along with the U.S. Supreme Court.
While Martin has always had a love for history, her recent role in the documentary has led her to delve into the background of the feud and to appreciate the art of moviemaking.
"The documentary is a two-hour local version of the six-hour Hollywood version," she said. "Trifecta Productions in Huntington worked with us. All local folks are in the documentary."
Martin, who frequently participates in living history presentations and re-enactments, said this marks her first time on film. She was chosen after fellow re-enactors heard about the upcoming production and sent lists of possible extras to Trifecta Productions.
Joe Murphy, chief executive officer of Trifecta, said his company was contacted by Thinkfactory Media, producer of the miniseries. One of the directors is West Virginia native Darrell Fetty.